News & Politics

Candlelight Vigil Will Commemorate 100th Anniversary of the Knickerbocker Theatre Collapse

The Adams Morgan gathering will mark DC's deadliest disaster.

A scene from the Knickerbocker Theatre collapse. Photograph from the National Archives

January 28 marks the 100th anniversary of the Knickerbocker Theatre collapse, which killed almost 100 people in 1922.

The fashionable theater opened in 1917 on 18th Street and Columbia Road in Adams Morgan. On the night of the collapse, people trudged through a huge winter storm to go see the silent film Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford. Not long after the movie began, the theater’s ceiling cracked under the weight of snow and the roof collapsed. A chaotic rescue attempt ensued. Fire trucks and ambulances frantically fought the storm to reach the theater. In the end, 98 people died and 133 were injured.

To honor the lives lost in the tragedy, the Adams Morgan BID is planning a candlelight vigil at the site on Friday, January 28, beginning at 6 PM. People will congregate at 1801 Adams Mill Road, Northwest. 

In the lobby of the Mt. Pleasant Library, a memorial is on display to commemorate the anniversary. Visitors can read through newspaper headlines from the event and see a map of where the victims resided in Adams Morgan and Mt. Pleasant.

Lauren Mccaffrey
Editorial Fellow